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'Best in Chow' settling ‘Poutine Wars Calgary’ on Cooking Channel

Cris Nannarone of Best in Chow found the best poutine in Calgary
Cris Nannarone of Best in Chow found the best poutine in Calgary
"Photo courtesy of Cooking Channel, used with permission."

On tonight’s Cooking Channel new season episode of “Best in Chow” Canadian host Cris Nannarone went to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Cris took his fun personality and love for people to search for the best poutine in Calgary.

For those who have never tasted or even heard of poutine, it is a common dish in Canada. It originated in French-speaking Quebec, and has a French name that literally means French fries with cheese and gravy. Digging further for the meaning, it can also be loosely translated as pudding, or that which resembles pudding.

As Cris stated, Calgary is a stampede city in the summer and a frozen wasteland in the winter. So he was in this winter wasteland searching for people who could point him in the right direction to find the best poutine places in Calgary. Three names continued to be on the lips and minds of these Canadians; Alberta King of Subs, Laurier Lounge and Brava Bistro, where he was told their lobster poutine was the best. Cris does not like lobster, he considers them the rats of the sea. Oh, Cris, how could you?

Cris has never tried poutine before, so he found a poutine expert, who could not believe he has never tried this dish. Karen Richards, founder of Poutine Crawl Calgary, where about seventy friends go from place to place eating this treat. She advised him to go to Alberta King of Subs for their Smoked Meat Poutine, which is right up his alley. Cris could not get the thought of cheese curds out of his mind, and he compared it to back waxing. But Steve Eberwein, the owner of Alberta King of Subs and his cook Lynette Annett were out to change his mind. She showed him what the curds looked like, and could not understand why he was scared of them. However, when he tasted them, he found a whole new world of taste that had eluded him all his life. Lynette confirmed that this was the best poutine in Calgary, and Cris confirmed that she was his first and he will never forget his first. The contained; French fries, Montreal smoked meat, cheese curds and Montreal smoked meat gravy.

Cris was sent by more people to Laurier Lounge, a converted house and historic site to try their poutine. Here he met executive chef Ryan O’Flynn, who previously cooked for royalty in London, now he is making poutine for Sir Cris. It is their Galvaude Poutine, which in French means to mess something up. So he messed up a serving of this for Cris, and his contained confit chicken breast and peas. Cris was in poutine ecstasy, and this was only the second poutine he ever tasted! It contained; triple-blanched fries, cheese curds, sous-vide free-range chicken breast, petits pois, glavaude gravy, parsley and shallots.

For the next stop, he went to Brava Bistro, because he was told they had the best lobster poutine, but his terrible recollection of his first lobster is still fresh in his mind. He met Dewey Noordhof, the master mixologist and partner in Brava Bistro, who fixed him a drink so Cris could find the courage to eat lobster. Provided he did not have to disassemble the lobster, Cris tasted it and fell in love with the dish and now dreams of lobsters. It contained; pomme frites, mascarpone cheese, lobster nage and flat-leaf parsley.

Cris gathered his nine jurors, who will taste each of the three poutine dishes and vote for the winner. When the voting was completed, and the judges had their fill, they gathered together with the owners and chefs who made the awesome dishes and announced the winner; Laurier Lounge and their Galvaude Poutine as the best poutine in Calgary on this episode of “Best in Chow.”

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